Roland Emmerich, the director behind disaster movies such as Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and Moonfall, is making a “gladiatorial epic” series for NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock. The show, which will be titled Those About to Die, is based on the book of the same name by Daniel Mannix (which, incidentally, previously served as the inspiration for Ridley Scott’s Gladiator). The series is set to be written by Robert Rodat, whose previous work includes Saving Private Ryan.
Those About to Die is the first TV show created by Emmerich. Although he previously directed 2012 TV movie Dark Horse, the director’s career has otherwise been focused on the big screen, with a filmography packed with summer blockbusters. It sounds like the aim is to preserve these big-screen sensibilities despite the show being destined for streamers. Here’s how Peacock’s announcement post describes it:
Those About to Die is a large-scale drama set within the spectacular, complex, and corrupt world of gladiatorial sports in Ancient Rome. The series introduces an ensemble of diverse characters across the many layers of Roman society where sports, politics, and business intersect and collide.
And don’t worry, as well as gladiatorial battles, Those About to Die will also feature the spectacle of chariot racing, according to NBCUniversal television and streaming’s president of scripted content Lisa Katz. Deadline reports that the budget for the series sits at around $140 million and that production is due to kick off early next year in Italy.